Smashing Pumpkns-Oceania Review

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Detractors will say that Oceania  isn’t a pumpkins record, or they won’t listen to it with open ears, or they will flat out refuse to listen to it. This is only really a disservice to those individuals, because after one listen you hear a man focused and revitalized by his new band mates, By the third  time you listen to the hour long epic Oceania, you realize you are not only listening to the best Smashing Pumpkins album since 1995, you are listening to one of the best albums by any band in the last decade. Strong claim, but with each listen things pop out that were missed the first , the music grows as opposed to most albums where a hit single gets played on repeat, and the rest fade away or are potentially never gets played or purchased. From the rocking opener “Quasar,” to the gentle and haunting closer “Wildflower,” The Smashing Pumpkins are presenting a concept, an idea, and a journey; one that is just as rewarding to the listener, as it must have been for the band the first time they listened to it.

Oceania soars on every level, where their 2007 release Zeitgeist sounded flat and uninspired, here we find Billy Corgan having something to say and painting a beautiful musical canvas with the remarkable band- new bassist Nicole Fiorentino, who has  a very full and powerful presence on the album. as well she has stunning backing vocals on the album(most notably on “Pale Horse,”) Jeff Schroeder adds guitar parts and his own flair to music, a perfect companion along with Corgan, and rounding out the Pumpkins is drummer Mike Byrne, who also adds some backing vocals on the album. Together they sound cohesive and truly a united unit, in vision and sound. Corgan has found his perfect match, this was evident on the tours leading up to Oceania but has become crystal clear. This is the Pumpkins. and if you get to the 9 plus minute self titled opus “Oceania,” and close your eyes and honestly don’t hear The Smashing Pumpkins, There may be something wrong with you.

The biggest accolade to this band isn’t in the fact at times the record feels like various moments in their career(which it does.) It’s the fact this sounds exactly where The Smashing Pumpkins should be in 2012. It’s not a band riding on  the coattails of their previous albums, nor is it a band that is lost of inspiration or vision. Everything is in tact and firing on all cylinders.

The Smashing Pumpkins have had a very bumpy road leading to Oceania, but once play is pressed. That bumpy road was worth every second. Be willing to accept this is the Pumpkins, this is the journey, and be prepared to be amazed.

Listen to the album via youtube here

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~ by justinjdrabek on June 29, 2012.

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